Urgent Evoke

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Have questions? Need help? Ideas to share? Looking for collaborators? Discuss the Water Crisis mission here.

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3rd world countries often do not have adequate access to to clean water even without a catastrophic event. A homemade sand filter like this one. I am not sure how much water this produces.

I know there are a handful of organizations already implementing sand water filtration systems around the world. If we could somehow arrange to have pre-manufactured kits available for shipment around the world with instruction kits in the host countries language they could be air dropped, or sent in with team to be assembled and put into use.

The cost for making these kits is relatively low. Material and resources are readily available in nearby countries. We need to generate financial support and organize a team of responders to deal with the crisis. What do you see as the potential problems with this plan?
The filter would eventually need replacing and cleaning. How available would spare gravel/parts/etc be?

Matthew Leighty said:
3rd world countries often do not have adequate access to to clean water even without a catastrophic event. A homemade sand filter like this one. I am not sure how much water this produces.

I know there are a handful of organizations already implementing sand water filtration systems around the world. If we could somehow arrange to have pre-manufactured kits available for shipment around the world with instruction kits in the host countries language they could be air dropped, or sent in with team to be assembled and put into use.

The cost for making these kits is relatively low. Material and resources are readily available in nearby countries. We need to generate financial support and organize a team of responders to deal with the crisis. What do you see as the potential problems with this plan?
Statistics recetly released by the UN show that contaminated drinking water causes more deaths in the world today than those deaths brought about by endemic warfare. I have no trouble believing this. Illneses like ch***ra and typhoid fever are only a water treatment failure away and that's in the Western World where the infrastructure ordinarily provides protection from water borne pathogens. But even in the Western World, before the deadly effect of water borne pathogens was understood, untold numbers died from simple ignorance of microbes and their efect on human health. In much of the developing world, even where the people understand the connection between contamination and sickness, the countries' resources never allowed such water purification plants to be built and to be honest, many of these countries, for whatever reason, are not going to construct such systems any time soon. But there is a cheap and easily applied , if only temporary, solution. IODINE. Water purification tablets made from an inexpensive chemical, iodine, can be readily and cheaply manufactured. They are easy to store and use. People can be given these tablets which can be easily be carried anywhere. Some campers reading this site may already be employing them. When people become familiar with them, and use them regularily, they can greatly reduce the mortality from contaminated water. In time, water purification plants may be built everywhere but people need protection now and iodine based water purification tablets offer that protection right now.
The water crisis globally is a Big Thing, so it's very good to see Evoke tackling it. But the story this week makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Dumping thousands of flyers into the river to warn people that it's dangerous? Even if they're biodegradable, I can't see how that wouldn't cause environmental havok.

Even weirder was the claim that it's inevitable that people will need personal water purification systems someday. To me, that's echoing the mistrust of public water systems that I see happening in North American culture - the mentality that tapwater isn't good enough, isn't safe enough. That leads to us paying private companies to bottle up "safer" water (which is usually just tapwater from another area anyway). Then we flll up our landfills (or our expensive-to-run recycling plants) with plastic water bottles that we never needed in the first place. Totally needless waste.

Also I'm not really sure why a commercial purification product is needed for a temporary problem with an existing, working water infrastructure. Just tell people to boil their water. Small-scale purification systems are a vital solution in parts of the world that do not have large-scale water infrastructure, so I'm not devaluing the research or production of those solutions, but if you only need to hold out for a week or two until the infrastructure gets repaired, it's overkill.
In an emergency situation there may be no way of producing the heat to boil water, power out, gas mains ruptured, that sort of thing. In much of the developing world any kind of fuel, even firewood may be scarce so constantly boiling water may be cost prohibitive. Water purification iodine tablets are cheap and easy to use anywhere.

Josh Giesbrecht said:
The water crisis globally is a Big Thing, so it's very good to see Evoke tackling it. But the story this week makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Dumping thousands of flyers into the river to warn people that it's dangerous? Even if they're biodegradable, I can't see how that wouldn't cause environmental havok.

Even weirder was the claim that it's inevitable that people will need personal water purification systems someday. To me, that's echoing the mistrust of public water systems that I see happening in North American culture - the mentality that tapwater isn't good enough, isn't safe enough. That leads to us paying private companies to bottle up "safer" water (which is usually just tapwater from another area anyway). Then we flll up our landfills (or our expensive-to-run recycling plants) with plastic water bottles that we never needed in the first place. Totally needless waste.

Also I'm not really sure why a commercial purification product is needed for a temporary problem with an existing, working water infrastructure. Just tell people to boil their water. Small-scale purification systems are a vital solution in parts of the world that do not have large-scale water infrastructure, so I'm not devaluing the research or production of those solutions, but if you only need to hold out for a week or two until the infrastructure gets repaired, it's overkill.
I wouldn't argue with that. But that doesn't match up with what was happening in the story.
By the way, I don't mean this as a slam against Evoke as a wh***. I just think our agents need to be thinking critically about how they get the job done. The mission was a success in that people were kept healthy, but maybe they could've found a solution with less environmental impact and without the weird privatization of water safety.

(I don't want my drinking water to be branded, k thx?)
Great idea! But in order to make it work, there is another urgent problem to fight - illiteracy. Maybe there is a way to create instructions using symbols. IKEA are quite used to that...

Matthew Leighty said:
3rd world countries often do not have adequate access to to clean water even without a catastrophic event. A homemade sand filter like this one. I am not sure how much water this produces.

I know there are a handful of organizations already implementing sand water filtration systems around the world. If we could somehow arrange to have pre-manufactured kits available for shipment around the world with instruction kits in the host countries language they could be air dropped, or sent in with team to be assembled and put into use.

The cost for making these kits is relatively low. Material and resources are readily available in nearby countries. We need to generate financial support and organize a team of responders to deal with the crisis. What do you see as the potential problems with this plan?
I like that idea a lot. There is sand,dirt, and rocks all over the world. This would work very well.

Matthew Leighty said:
3rd world countries often do not have adequate access to to clean water even without a catastrophic event. A homemade sand filter like this one. I am not sure how much water this produces.

I know there are a handful of organizations already implementing sand water filtration systems around the world. If we could somehow arrange to have pre-manufactured kits available for shipment around the world with instruction kits in the host countries language they could be air dropped, or sent in with team to be assembled and put into use.

The cost for making these kits is relatively low. Material and resources are readily available in nearby countries. We need to generate financial support and organize a team of responders to deal with the crisis. What do you see as the potential problems with this plan?
Emerging water crises, whether in the form of water supply and sanitation or transboundary waters, are pressing issues that need timely and comprehensive treatment, before matters go out of control. The world is going to be challenged by either excessive or shortage of water, depending on the geographic location, as every single effort wasted now will cost dearly during the years and decades to come.
Are filters really needed on rain water? Water vapour is essentially distilled water and completely bacteria free until it condenses and falls into an already contaminated pool. A lot has been written about how acid rain causes respiratory problems but I can't find anything that says it's bad to drink. Sand filters won't filter out acids in any case.
Rain water is by its nature undependable and in much of the world too infrequent to be more than a marginal source. In some parts of the world, for centuries it was used. What is needed, however, is a safe storage facility, cisterns come to mind, clean to begin with and covered by some material, screening, gauze cloth, to keep out contaminants such as dead insects and to keep out breeding mosquitoes. God knows the developing wotld has anough of a problem with malaria, already. If there is sufficient precipitation that can be collected in clean containers, protected from outside contamination it should work, though I would advise tossing into the container, now and then, some of those iodine tablets.

Pieter Oosterbroek said:
Are filters really needed on rain water? Water vapour is essentially distilled water and completely bacteria free until it condenses and falls into an already contaminated pool. A lot has been written about how acid rain causes respiratory problems but I can't find anything that says it's bad to drink. Sand filters won't filter out acids in any case.

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